LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Volunteers and celebrities Wednesday served approximately 4,000 Christmas Eve meals to the homeless at the Los Angeles Mission.

Chef Ben Ford began food preparations at 4:30 a.m. and meal service started at 11 a.m.

Many of those cooking in the kitchen are part of a program that helps them on the road to a more productive life.

“(I’ll) hopefully be becoming a top chef here in Los Angeles County,” Erik Grant said.

Toys and other goodies were also given out to those in need in the 2,000-square-foot Festival of Children Foundation’s Sharing the Spirit Holiday Party tent.

Santa and many celebrities, including Bella Thorne (Shake it Up), Donal Logue (Grounded for Life, Gotham), Rowan Blanchard (Girl Meets World), Lisa Rinna (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) and Harry Hamlin (Mad Men), Neal McDonough (Captain America), Crystal Hefner (the Girls Next Door), Jen Lilley (Days of Our Lives), August Mautro (Girl Meets World), Greg Vaughan (Days of Our Lives) and Heather McDonald (Chelsea Lately) were among the volunteers at the event, sponsored by Toyota and Nestlé.

The event, located at 303 E. 5th Street, lasted through 3 p.m.

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